City attorney meets with Hattiesburg City Council to explain inv - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

City attorney meets with Hattiesburg City Council to explain investigation

Governor Phil Bryant says the special election for Hattiesburg mayor will be held on or about September 24. The official date will be announced Tuesday. The election challenge trial was full of allegations about voter fraud and intimidation.

City attorney Charles Lawrence met privately on Monday with council members to explain why he ordered a criminal background check on a potential witness, Arthur Smith, in the election trial.

Councilwoman Deborah Delgado asked to keep that meeting open to the press, and the public, but that did not happen.

"My plan is to continue to do the best job I can do for the residents of the City of Hattiesburg," said City Attorney Charles Lawrence on Monday.

Lawrence explained that he singled out Smith because Smith previously approached Lawrence and asked if he could help him get past charges removed from his record.

Arthur Smith filled out his absentee ballot for Dave Ware; however, a search of the ballots did not find an Arthur Smith vote. Behind closed doors, it was revealed in a court transcript that the Hattiesburg Police Department, on orders from Lawrence, did a background check on Smith. Arthur Smith was called to testify as a witness in the Ware v. DuPree trial, but he never showed up to testify when he was subpoenaed on July 26.

"Of course, me having the knowledge of the fact that the person from another state wanted to get his record clean from another state, needed to verify whether or not the person was eligible to even vote," Lawrence said.

Since Lawrence is appointed by the mayor, the council cannot fire him. They can give him a vote of no confidence. Sources say the FBI, Attorney General's office, and the local district attorney may be looking into the situation. In fact, District Attorney Patricia Burchell issued a statement later on Monday:

"This office is committed to ensuring that all allegations of any type of criminal conduct within our community are investigated and appropriately handled."

The council may ask for other resignations and look for five new election commissioners.

Copyright 2013 WDAM. All rights reserved.

  • Local NewsLOCALMore>>

  • USM College of Business announces Eagle Suit Fund

    USM College of Business announces Eagle Suit Fund

    Wednesday, September 20 2017 4:40 PM EDT2017-09-20 20:40:46 GMT

    The University of Southern Mississippi College of Business will soon be providing deserving students with business suits to help them transition into their professions.  The school announced the partnership with clothing retailers Talbots and Jos. A. Bank to create a new initiative called the Eagle Suit Fund, sponsored by generous USM almnus.  “Our alumni and friends are our catalyst for lasting changes. Initiatives like this will help our students tak...

    More >>

    The University of Southern Mississippi College of Business will soon be providing deserving students with business suits to help them transition into their professions.  The school announced the partnership with clothing retailers Talbots and Jos. A. Bank to create a new initiative called the Eagle Suit Fund, sponsored by generous USM almnus.  “Our alumni and friends are our catalyst for lasting changes. Initiatives like this will help our students tak...

    More >>
  • Dozens of endangered tortoises released at Camp Shelby

    Dozens of endangered tortoises released at Camp Shelby

    Wednesday, September 20 2017 4:07 PM EDT2017-09-20 20:07:04 GMT
    About 90 endangered gopher tortoises were released into the wild at Camp Shelby Wednesday. Photo credit WDAM.About 90 endangered gopher tortoises were released into the wild at Camp Shelby Wednesday. Photo credit WDAM.

    The Mississippi Military Department, the Nature Conservancy and several state and federal agencies have teamed up to boost the numbers of endangered gopher tortoises at Camp Shelby and the DeSoto National Forest. 

    More >>

    The Mississippi Military Department, the Nature Conservancy and several state and federal agencies have teamed up to boost the numbers of endangered gopher tortoises at Camp Shelby and the DeSoto National Forest. 

    More >>
  • Laurel police searching for shooting suspect

    Laurel police searching for shooting suspect

    Wednesday, September 20 2017 3:51 PM EDT2017-09-20 19:51:36 GMT
    LAKENDALL ALEXANDER HUNTER Source: LPDLAKENDALL ALEXANDER HUNTER Source: LPD
    The Laurel Police Department is searching for a shooting suspect after a Tuesday morning fight.  Police responded to a report of shots fired at the 800 block of South Magnolia at approximately 11:10 a.m., according to a LPD press release. Complainants reported that a fight between several individuals had erupted into gunfire.  The suspect, Lakendall A. Hunter, reportedly fired three shots in the direction of several people, though no injuries were reported. ...More >>
    The Laurel Police Department is searching for a shooting suspect after a Tuesday morning fight.  Police responded to a report of shots fired at the 800 block of South Magnolia at approximately 11:10 a.m., according to a LPD press release. Complainants reported that a fight between several individuals had erupted into gunfire.  The suspect, Lakendall A. Hunter, reportedly fired three shots in the direction of several people, though no injuries were reported. ...More >>
Powered by Frankly